From the Chassidic Rebbes
secret of the success of the Jewish people is "Love your fellow[Jew] as yourself."
Whenever Jews sitting together swallow a sip of hard liquor, immediately "when
wine enters, secrets emerge," so the love between them is strengthened. This is
the secret of the drinking on Purim. Haman accused us of being "a separated, scattered
people," without unity. Each year we disprove him as we gather and solidify our
unity. Great is the drinking of Purim, for it draws our hearts close to each other!
[Rebbe of Vorka].
* * *
these days were named Purim based on the word pur." The fundamental
miracle of Purim was the lottery. Although a lottery is above the system of Worlds
where darkness matches light, nevertheless even in respect to the lottery itself,
Jewish souls were chosen.
Haman's evil scheme was frustrated. "They
hung Haman and his sons on the gallows." And they were hanged on the very
"gallows that he had prepared for Mordechai." That is, Haman was hanged
in the realm of Infinity, which is above the system of Worlds! (Lubavitcher
From the Masters of Kabbalah --
"Esther's Secret of Success"
(From "Manos HaLevi"
by Rabbi Shlomo Alkabetz, composer of Lecha Dodi)
Gackon writes, concerning Esther's three-day fast, that Esther [in fasting for
exactly three days] had the following kabbalistic intention. Namely, that three
days and nights contain seventy-two hours, and "B'chen" ["thus",
in 4:16] equals seventy-two numerically [in letter-gematria], corresponding to
the [exalted 72-letter] Name of G-d hinted in the three verses [that begin], "Vayisa",
"Vayavo", "Vayet" [Exodus 14:19, 20, 21, each of which contain
seventy-two letters precisely]. It was with the power of this Name that G-d split
the [Red] sea and had the Israelites cross over, and He guided them in His protection
and they had no fear [of the enemy].
From that Name, [the flow of] the Divine life-force comes to Esther's
supernal [corresponding] sefira; for Esther [as our Sages say] was greenish
in complexion [green is a color associated with the sefira Chesed, Divine
kindness, as the life-flow descends through the upper worlds, and the
numerical value of "chesed is 72 !].
Esther, with the power of these seventy-two hours, approached [G-d],
King of the world, in her prayers; for she was sure of His help [that He would
answer her and save the Jews]. Then, in this [lowly physical] world, she approached
[Translated and annotated by Carmel Kehati (POB 494,
From Ascent Quarterly-- "Is G-d Missing?"
by Yerachmiel Tilles
As a Safed writer,
I was once asked by a secular Israeli publication to contribute an article about
Kabbalah, Chassidut, meditation, etc.- all those special elements of Judaism which
are identified with Safed. I did so. The feedback was that the mysticism and 'spirituality'
in it was excellent, but "there is too much mention of 'G-d'."
could crack a few good jokes here, but I'll refrain. Instead, in the spirit of
the season, I'll simply say, if that comment reflects your feelings too, dear
reader, do I have the book for you!
It chronicles a series of events and
circumstances that would seem to have been conspicuously effected by divine intervention,
but the name 'G-d' is never mentioned. And yet, it is one of the twenty-four books
of the Holy Scripture! Did you figure it out yet?
That's right. The Scroll
of Esther, read publicly evening and morning on the festival of Purim.
reasons have been offered to explain this anomaly. Among them: perhaps Esther
was concerned that her book would not be accepted as Holy Scripture. Or that when
the Persians translated it for their official annals, they would substitute the
name of one of their deities.
But it goes deeper. A main motif of the Megillah
is disguise, things not being what they seem to be. Even the name "Esther"
in Hebrew connotes hiddenness and invokes the theme of G-d's concealment from
us: "Anochi hastir astir panai - I shall surely hide My face." [Deut.
This is certainly appropriate, as one of the striking things about
the incredible succession of events is how easily (for a biblical book) they could
be rationalized as a series of natural coincidences. Indeed, with the exception
of Esther and Mordechai, it took years until people gained enough perspective
to realize the extraordinary extent of G-d's involvement.
So, just because
you don't see Him or recognize Him or think of Him, it doesn't mean He is not
there. That is why in this case I didn't mind re-writing the article. The bottom
line is: even if G-d is not in the text, He can never be removed from the picture!
Some Laws and Customs --
SOME PURIM-RELATED OBSERVANCES
SHABBAT ZACHOR ["Shabbat of Remembering"] 11 Adar
(March 4, 2023)
This is the only Shabbat each year that every man and woman is obligated
(accord-ing to most authorities) by Torah law to go to shul. On this day,
Zachor is appended to the weekly Torah reading. By hearing it read publicly
on the Shabbat immediately preceding Purim, we fulfill the Torah commandment
in it [Deut. 25:17-19]: "Re-member what Amalek [the ancestor and in-spira-tion
of Haman, the villain of Purim] did to you."
(Anyone who is unable to be present at this reading should make an extra
effort to hear the Torah reading [Ex. 17] that takes place immediately
before the morning Megillah reading on Purim, or at least to hear Zachor
read when it comes up in the regular Shabbat cycle of Torah readings [August.
26, 2023] as the final verses of the portion Ki Teitzei.)
TA'ANIT [Fast of] ESTHER 13 Adar (March 6)
The fast starts before dawn and ends after dark. No eating or drinking.
Special services at shul morning and afternoon. The money saved by not
eating should go to charity; the time, to Torah-study and mitzvot-performance.
PURIM 14 Adar (Monday night - Tuesday, March 6-7)
- Hear a public reading of the Scroll of Esther (kriat megilah)
in the evening and again during the day.
- Give money [matanot l'evyonim] to at least 2 needy
individuals. (If you don't encounter anyone that qualifies, put the
money in a safe place until you do.)
- Send (via a third party) a gift [mishlo'ach manot]
of 2 or more kinds of ready-to-eat foods and/or drink to at least 1
friend (not a relative).
- Celebrate at a festive day-time meal (seudat Purim)
with bread, good food, and plenty of wine. The Talmud and Codes of Law
instruct us to drink until we can no longer differentiate between "Blessed
is Mordechai" and "Cursed is Haman"! (A few authorities opine that the
minimum obligation is to drink only "a bit more than what one is used
to." Looking ahead to Pesach night, perhaps the quantity implied is
4 cups plus!)
- Add "Al HaNissim" to the Amidah prayers and to the
SHUSHAN PURIM 15 Adar (ednesday, March 8)
Inhabitants of cities that were important enough to be surrounded by walls
at the time of the Jews' entrance into the Holy Land celebrate Purim one
day later than everyone else (see Esther 9:17-19). Prime example: Jerusalem.
The status of Tsfat and several other cities in Israel is unclear, so
the day is celebrated some-what in addition to regular-Purim, "just-in-case."
(When Erev Purim falls on Shabbat, the Fast of Esther is moved
up to Thursday, a in this year. When Shushan Purim falls on Shabbat,
the celebration in Jerusalem lasts three days: The Megillah is read on
Friday, the Al Hanissim prayer additions are said on Shabbat, and the
festive meal is conducted on Sunday.)
last year's Purim page
for more Kabbalah insights on